Valley Systems (B) Net Present Value (NPV) / MBA Resources

Introduction to Net Present Value (NPV) - What is Net Present Value (NPV) ? How it impacts financial decisions regarding project management?

NPV solution for Valley Systems (B) case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Valley Systems (B) case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by John Morgridge, Mark Leslie, Sara Rosenthal. The Valley Systems (B) (referred as “Tucker Schedule” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Leadership & Managing People. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Ethics, Financial management, Sales, Technology.

The net present value (NPV) of an investment proposal is the present value of the proposal’s net cash flows less the proposal’s initial cash outflow. If a project’s NPV is greater than or equal to zero, the project should be accepted.

NPV = Present Value of Future Cash Flows LESS Project’s Initial Investment

Case Description of Valley Systems (B) Case Study

In Part A, Valley Systems, a computer hardware company which manufactures high performance internetworking systems, was six months post-IPO and struggling to make their quarterly earnings. Matt Tucker, the company's CEO, was very concerned about the negative impacts of missing their numbers (especially so closely following their IPO) and evaluated the option of swapping some larger deliveries in the next quarter with smaller deliveries in the current quarter to achieve their target revenues. The students are asked to determine what they would do in Tucker's situation and discuss the implications of their decision on the business, investors and employees. Part B reveals that Tucker and his team did decide to adjust their delivery schedule to meet their numbers. Now, two quarters later, the company is in the same predicament-they were almost certain to miss their numbers resulting in low employee morale and high investor anxiety. Once again, Tucker is faced with the question of how to best manage the situation. He considers the option of optimizing the product delivery schedule based on product mix and profit margin. Students are asked to decide whether this "schedule optimization" strategy is good business or revenue manipulation as well as to consider the implications on sales reps and the overall health of the business.

Case Authors : John Morgridge, Mark Leslie, Sara Rosenthal

Topic : Leadership & Managing People

Related Areas : Ethics, Financial management, Sales, Technology

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Valley Systems (B) Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10017610) -10017610 - -
Year 1 3469599 -6548011 3469599 0.9434 3273207
Year 2 3978516 -2569495 7448115 0.89 3540865
Year 3 3950414 1380919 11398529 0.8396 3316844
Year 4 3242315 4623234 14640844 0.7921 2568217
TOTAL 14640844 12699133

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2681523

In isolation the NPV number doesn't mean much but put in right context then it is one of the best method to evaluate project returns. In this article we will cover -

Different methods of capital budgeting

What is NPV & Formula of NPV,
How it is calculated,
How to use NPV number for project evaluation, and
Scenario Planning given risks and management priorities.

Capital Budgeting Approaches

Methods of Capital Budgeting

There are four types of capital budgeting techniques that are widely used in the corporate world –

1. Net Present Value
2. Internal Rate of Return
3. Payback Period
4. Profitability Index

Apart from the Payback period method which is an additive method, rest of the methods are based on Discounted Cash Flow technique. Even though cash flow can be calculated based on the nature of the project, for the simplicity of the article we are assuming that all the expected cash flows are realized at the end of the year.

Discounted Cash Flow approaches provide a more objective basis for evaluating and selecting investment projects. They take into consideration both –

1. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Tucker Schedule have higher preference for cash returns over 4-5 years rather than 10-15 years given the nature of the volatility in the industry.
2. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Tucker Schedule shareholders have preference for diversified projects investment rather than prospective high income from a single capital intensive project.

Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of Valley Systems (B)

NPV = Net Cash In Flowt1 / (1+r)t1 + Net Cash In Flowt2 / (1+r)t2 + … Net Cash In Flowtn / (1+r)tn
Less Net Cash Out Flowt0 / (1+r)t0

Where t = time period, in this case year 1, year 2 and so on.
r = discount rate or return that could be earned using other safe proposition such as fixed deposit or treasury bond rate. Net Cash In Flow – What the firm will get each year.
Net Cash Out Flow – What the firm needs to invest initially in the project.

Step 1 – Understand the nature of the project and calculate cash flow for each year.
Step 2 – Discount those cash flow based on the discount rate.
Step 3 – Add all the discounted cash flow.
Step 4 – Selection of the project

Why Leadership & Managing People Managers need to know Financial Tools such as Net Present Value (NPV)?

In our daily workplace we often come across people and colleagues who are just focused on their core competency and targets they have to deliver. For example marketing managers at Tucker Schedule often design programs whose objective is to drive brand awareness and customer reach. But how that 30 point increase in brand awareness or 10 point increase in customer touch points will result into shareholders’ value is not specified.

To overcome such scenarios managers at Tucker Schedule needs to not only know the financial aspect of project management but also needs to have tools to integrate them into part of the project development and monitoring plan.

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 15%

After working through various assumptions we reached a conclusion that risk is far higher than 6%. In a reasonably stable industry with weak competition - 15% discount rate can be a good benchmark.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 15 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10017610) -10017610 - -
Year 1 3469599 -6548011 3469599 0.8696 3017043
Year 2 3978516 -2569495 7448115 0.7561 3008330
Year 3 3950414 1380919 11398529 0.6575 2597461
Year 4 3242315 4623234 14640844 0.5718 1853804
TOTAL 10476638

The Net NPV after 4 years is 459028

(10476638 - 10017610 )

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 20%

If the risk component is high in the industry then we should go for a higher hurdle rate / discount rate of 20%.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 20 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10017610) -10017610 - -
Year 1 3469599 -6548011 3469599 0.8333 2891333
Year 2 3978516 -2569495 7448115 0.6944 2762858
Year 3 3950414 1380919 11398529 0.5787 2286119
Year 4 3242315 4623234 14640844 0.4823 1563616
TOTAL 9503926

The Net NPV after 4 years is -513684

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9503926 - 10017610 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Tucker Schedule to discount cash flow at lower discount rates such as 15%.

Acceptance Criteria of a Project based on NPV

Simplest Approach – If the investment project of Tucker Schedule has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Tucker Schedule can ACCEPT the project, otherwise they can reject the project. This means that project will deliver higher returns over the period of time than any alternate investment strategy.

In theory if the required rate of return or discount rate is chosen correctly by finance managers at Tucker Schedule, then the stock price of the Tucker Schedule should change by same amount of the NPV. In real world we know that share price also reflects various other factors that can be related to both macro and micro environment.

In the same vein – accepting the project with zero NPV should result in stagnant share price. Finance managers use discount rates as a measure of risk components in the project execution process.

Sensitivity Analysis

Project selection is often a far more complex decision than just choosing it based on the NPV number. Finance managers at Tucker Schedule should conduct a sensitivity analysis to better understand not only the inherent risk of the projects but also how those risks can be either factored in or mitigated during the project execution. Sensitivity analysis helps in –

What will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

What are the key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

What can impact the cash flow of the project.

Understanding of risks involved in the project.

What are the uncertainties surrounding the project Initial Cash Outlay (ICO’s). ICO’s often have several different components such as land, machinery, building, and other equipment.

Some of the assumptions while using the Discounted Cash Flow Methods –

Projects are assumed to be Mutually Exclusive – This is seldom the came in modern day giant organizations where projects are often inter-related and rejecting a project solely based on NPV can result in sunk cost from a related project.

Independent projects have independent cash flows – As explained in the marketing project – though the project may look independent but in reality it is not as the brand awareness project can be closely associated with the spending on sales promotions and product specific advertising.

Negotiation Strategy of Valley Systems (B)

References & Further Readings

John Morgridge, Mark Leslie, Sara Rosenthal (2018), "Valley Systems (B) Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.

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